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While traditional planning processes delineate the steps on the journey, change management attempts to facilitate that journey. Therefore, creating change starts with creating a vision for change and then empowering individuals to act as change agents to attain that vision. The empowered change management agent’s need plans that provide total systems approach, are realistic, and are future oriented. Change management encompasses the effective strategies and programs to enable those change agents to achieve the new vision. For the work, we will be choosing Kurt Lewin’s 3-step model for managing the change. The power of Lewin's theorizing lay not in a formal propositional kind of theory but in his ability to build "models" of processes that drew attention to the right kinds of variables that needed to be conceptualized and observed. The most powerful of these was his model of the change process in human systems. This model to be fundamentally necessary in trying to explain various phenomena I had observed, and it lent itself very well to refinement and elaboration. Social scientist Kurt Lewin, combining the theories of sociology and psychology, developed a threestage model for large-scale system change. Lewin recognized the role of habit in our thoughts and actions. "Unfreezing" involves finding a method of making it possible for people to let go of an old pattern that was counterproductive in some way. "Moving to a new level" involves a process of change--in thoughts, feelings, behavior, or all three, that is in some way more liberating or more productive. "Refreezing" is establishing the change as a new habit, so that it now becomes the "standard operating procedure." Without some process of refreezing, it is easy to backslide into the old ways. Lewin's basic change model of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing to be a theoretical foundation upon which change theory could be built solidly. The key, of course, was to see that human change, whether at the individual or group level, was a profound psychological dynamic process that involved painful unlearning without loss of ego identity and difficult relearning as one cognitively attempted to restructure one's thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and attitudes. The case study shows that this theory indeed can be integrated in an organizational change modeling approach in a useful manner.
1992). there will be no change. It is about helping stakeholders. He argued that the equilibrium needs to be destabilized (unfrozen) before old behaviour can be discarded (unlearnt) and new behaviour successfully adopted. involved three steps: Unfreezing: Unfreezing is the fundamental step in the theory. Nor did he intend it to be seen separately from the other three elements which comprise his planned approach to change (i. When this stage is implemented successfully most members in each stakeholder group evaluate ways in that they are counterproductive to what should be done and they stop taking those actions.e. However the fear of change is one of the greatest restraining forces met by an individual facing the change process. The driving force must outweigh the restraining force in order for enough motivation to take place. The need to change can be caused by a fear of failing to meet goals or standard (Schein. 1995). organizational and societal levels. Given the type of issues that Lewin was addressing. It is about helping the stakeholders “let go” or not do things how they have always done. Lewin (1947a) argued. he did not believe that change would be easy or that the same approach could be applied in all situations:  . merely introducing a driving force is not enough to cause a shift in the equilibrium of the perceived change (Schein. administrators. However. To overcome this fear and attempt to change. Lewin believed that the stability of human behaviour was based on a quasi-stationary equilibrium supported by a complex field of driving and restraining forces. Group Dynamics and Action Research). 1995). Rather Lewin saw the four concepts as forming an integrated approach to analyzing. employees. it needs to be recognized that when he developed his 3-Step model Lewin was not thinking only of organizational issues. boards and government) understand that change is required. the individual must develop a sense of comfort. as one would expect. both are essential in motivation (Pettigrew.Key significance of Lewin’s 3-Step Model This is often cited as Lewin’s key contribution to organizational change. If the restraining force is greater than or equal to the driving force. The effects of the driving and restraining forces come into play at this step. Field Theory. For example an individual may feel he/she will have a heart attack if he/she does not chage his diet. A balance between the fear of not changing and changing must be met. understanding and bringing about change at the group. A successful change project.
the disconfirming information will be denied or in other ways defended against. unless sufficient psychological safety is created. p. whether at the individual or group level. Schein (1996) identifies three processes necessary to achieve unfreezing: disconfirmation of the validity of the status quo. and coaching. and having a positive self-esteem. Such as accepting healthy living as eating a healthy diet. 61). It is about not doing what one has always done that was counterproductive and replacing it with concrete new actions. offer positive reinforcement. He argued that: ‘. These new actions are consistently repeated to help move towards a new goal. no survival anxiety will be felt and consequently. 1997). and creating psychological safety. Renaming the information or widening out definition helps one accept new meaning to the habit. one creates new principles to evaluate standards. oppose to weighing a specific number. emotionally. One way to achieve this stage is to try a variety of activities so that something will appeal to the stakeholders. 62) notes. and socially healthy (World Health Organization. p. In evaluating healthy lifestyles. This echoes Lewin’s view that any attempt to predict or identify a specific outcome from planned change is very difficult  . As Schein (1996. being physically active. . was a profound psychological dynamic process’. this stage has been achieved. Others help to relieve pressures. provide an environment where errors can be made and learned from. 27) comments that the key to unfreezing ‘. . p. The process of change is not only done physically. Moving: Moving to a new level or changing means exactly that it is about replacing the old actions with actions that are consistent with the goal. 2003). it ‘. those concerned have to feel safe from loss and humiliation before they can accept the new information and reject old behaviours. creates motivation to learn but does not necessarily control or predict the direction’.Enlarging on Lewin’s ideas. When changing the definition. . To help maintain the motivation for change. In other words. . working in groups or obtaining support is effective. When most stakeholders are trying to change their counterproductive actions to productive actions. it requires mental alterations (Tichey. Schein (1996. no change will take place’ (Schein. . unfreezing is not an end in itself. 1996. . one would be successful if he or she feels physically. mentally. was to recognize that change. the induction of guilt or survival anxiety.
The main point about refreezing is that new behaviour must be. This stage is accomplished when most stakeholders habitually take the productive action.because of the complexity of the forces concerned. employees feel confident and comfortable with the new ways of working. This means making sure that the changes are used all the time. congruent with the rest of the behaviour. norms. Refreezing or making the new productive actions habits is refreezing. the new behavior will not last. When the changes are taking shape and people have embraced the new ways of working. it becomes the norm. and that they are incorporated into everyday business. In order for refreezing to occur the new activity needs to be normalized. and so on. bland diet which he/she does not enjoy and forces he to do a physical activity he/she does not enjoy. 1996). consistent job descriptions. This is. This is why Lewin saw successful change as a group activity. Lewin (1947a) recognized that. 1947a). However. This will happen if it is fun and easy or if there is a reward. The outward signs of the refreeze are a stable organization chart. on a trial and error basis. 1993). refreezing often requires changes to organizational culture. of course. the individual begins to eat a very restrictive. without thinking. benefits will be seen. action and more research which enables groups and individuals to move from a less acceptable to a more acceptable set of behaviours. The refreeze stage also needs to help people and the organization internalize or institutionalize the changes. Refreezing: This is the final step in the 3-Step model. The new action must be fitting to behaviors and characteristics of the individual to remain effective or the old action will reemerge (Schein. Refreezing seeks to stabilize the group at a new quasi-stationary equilibrium in order to ensure that the new behaviours are relatively safe from regression. changes to individual behaviour will not be sustained. one should seek to take into account all the forces at work and identify and evaluate. policies and practices (Kanter. to some degree. personality and environment of the learner or it will simply lead to a new round of disconfirmation (Schein. Once these actions are repeated over a time period. In organizational terms. the organization is ready to refreeze. because unless group norms and routines are also transformed. Instead. change could be short-lived. as noted above.  . Soon the person will begin to “cheat” on the diet and avoid running. all the available options (Lewin. With a new sense of stability. It is this iterative approach of research. the learning approach promoted by Action Research. without reinforcement. As in the healthy lifestyle example. 1995).
Reinforcement of the change is vital to insure that the change is retained (John. Commitments to produce short term wins also help maintain the sense of urgency focus of the project. it is important it stays in place. 1995). the ‘‘team working’’ instruments he described could be used as part of a proposed change process by providing feedback. Lewin tested the relationship between team working and organisational performance. Organisational development theory typically uses Lewin’s three-step change model which involves breaking down old tasks. career advancement. people give up or begin to resist the change. This could make unseen but  . Following awareness for the need to change and having volleyed support for the need to change leads to the second phase of Lewin's model. Hence. 2003). The process cannot stop at ‘desire’. Without achieving buy-in to the change project. Any specialised training or skills that might be required must be provided prior to implementing the change. Again. employees must possess knowledge on how to perform the change and the ability to change. promotion or money (Kanter. communication is the key to successfully imparting information on how the change process will occur. and the establishment of new routines (refreezing). Without short term wins. a transition time towards new ways of doing things (moving). moving the people for the desire to participate. there will be no desire to participate. change will occur when the combined strength of one force is greater than the combined strength of the opposing set of forces. Having found partial support for this hypothesis. 1996).. job security and incentives such as compensation will enhance employees desire to participate (Prosci. Lewin’s model illustrates the effects of forces that either promote or inhibit change. Once thechange is implemented. Specifically. Lewin suggests that organisations should be proactive in establishing goals and objectives and rewarding those involved with recognition.Therefore. behaviours and attitudes (unfreezing). driving forces promote change while restraining forces oppose change. Organizational application of Lewin’s 3-Step Model Change efforts take time and risk losing momentum if there are no short term goals to meet and celebrate (Kotter. 1993).
and sought to provide an approach which could accommodate this. Lewin is seen as advocating a top-down. 1994. 1994). Limitations &Comparison of Lewin’s Model Although Lewin’s theory has proved useful in understanding planned change under relatively stable conditions. thus creating an opportunity to challenge existing practice and discuss how new routines might help improve performance. This approach is more construct than content driven. transformational change (Dawson. Lewin’s stands accused of ignoring the role of power and politics in organizations and the conflictual nature of much of organizational life. Dunphy and Stace. management-driven approach to change and ignoring situations requiring bottom-up change (Dawson. it no longer makes sense to implement a planned process for ‘freezing’ changed behaviours. Quality improvement driven by organisational development focuses on empowering and involving practice teams in problem solving. with the continuing and dynamic nature of change in today’s business world. 1997).. rather than arguing that Lewin saw behavioural change as a top-down process. 1993. 1999). and effective communication (French. Many have is argued that Lewin’s Planned approach is too simplistic and mechanistic for a world where organizational change is a continuous and open-ended process (Dawson. 1992). describing competence using language such as team working.powerful patterns of behaviours among team members visible to others. The processual framework adopts the view that change is a complex and dynamic process which should not be solidified or treated as a series of linear events. Garvin.  . problem solving. Kanter et al. it would be more accurate to say that Lewin recognized that it could be initiated from the top. Consequently. bottom or middle but that it could not be successful without the active. He clearly recognized that the pressure for change comes from many quarters. central to the development of a processual approach is the need to incorporate analysis is of the politics of managing change (Cummings. 1992). 1994. Lewin’s work is only relevant to incremental and isolated change projects and is not able to incorporate radical. willing and equal participation of all. not just managers and leaders.
but the Social Cognitive Theory because it takes into account both external and internal environmental conditions. Conversely. The more widespread imitation becomes. not linear. preparation. it tends to be less specific.This section of the paper will compare the differentiating characteristics of each change theory to one another. 1999). Watson. Lewin's model is very rational. and Westley point out that changes are more likely to be stable if they spread to neighboring systems or to subparts of the system immediately affected. personal factors. several businesses adopt the same innovation. Lewin’s Three-Step Change Theory. contemplation. and maintenance (Bennis. action. The stages discussed in their change theory are: precontempation. Watson and Westley 58-59) Prochaska and DiClemente’s change theory is differentiated from the other theories discussed in this article. Lippitt. Progression through the stages is cyclical. Changes are better rooted. and the Theory of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior have different methods and assumptions that make each theory unique. It doesn’t take into account personal factors that can affect change. Social Cognitive Theory. Lippitt’s Phases of Change Theory. Prochaska and DiClemente found that people pass through a series of stages when change occurs. The focus on Lippitt’s change theory is on the change agent rather than the change itself. The model is cyclical. the more the behavior is regarded as normal (Lippitt. Individuals that may relapse can revisit the contemplation stage and make plans for action in the future. 1993). It is important to note that some of the theories do share some commonalities with one another (Cohen. This theory takes relapses or failures to convert to the desired behavior the first time into account. Lewin’s change model attempts to analyze the forces (driving or restraining) that impacts change. goal and plan oriented. Lewin’s model makes rational sense. or the problem spreads to other departments of the same business. Lippitt’s Phases of Change is an extension of Lewin’s Three-Step Theory.  . not linear. Prochaska and DiClemente’s Change Theory. and attributes of the behavior itself. therefore. The model defines a more general process of change and. Two examples are: the individual meets other problems in a similar way. social cognitive theory proposes that behavioral change is affected by environmental influences.
Social learning theory is an extension of operant conditioning. and skills necessary to perform the desired behavior. behavior is a result of consequences.” There are two major factors that shape the individual’s attention. personal factors. Individuals react to how they perceive consequences of their behavior. and observation. The theory of reasoned action states that “individual performance of a given behavior is primarily determined by a person's intention to perform that behavior. First. A vital aspect of the behavioral change process is perceived behavioral control over opportunities. proposes that behavior change is affected by environmental influences. motor reproduction processes. The concept of perceived behavioral control is similar to the concept of self-efficacy. They include: attention processes. resources.Self-efficacy is the most important characteristic of both the theory of planned behavior and social cognitive theory. Three methods to increase self-efficacy include: provide clear instructions. 1997). This includes the beliefs of their peers and what they believe the individual should do as well as the individual's motivation to comply with the opinions of their peers. Self-efficacy must be present in order for theory of planned behavior and Social Cognitive Theory to be applied resulting in successful change. compelling. and attributes of the behavior itself (Robbins 46-47). and relates to something they care about. retention processes. provide the opportunity for skill development or training. and skills necessary to perform a behavior (Beckhard. human dialogue and interaction. The theory of planned behavior includes the concept of perceived control over the opportunities. In other words. the individual’s attitude towards the desired behavior must be positive for change to occur. Attentional processes take into account that individuals learn from a model when they can relate to it and pay attention to its details.. there are four processes that should be exercised that can significantly increase the likelihood of success. the influence of the person's social environment or subjective norm is another factor that shapes the individual’s attention (Beckhard. and reinforcement processes. 1999).  . Individuals are more easily influenced when the model is neat. and model the desired behavior (Bennis. Second. Self-efficacy is defined as having the confidence in the ability to take action and persist in the action. 2001). Individuals can learn by direct experiences. When implementing employee-training programs. resources. attention grabbing. Social learning theory. later renamed social cognitive theory. attractive.
and macro change theories are useful for managers to understand the dynamics of change. Management must be seen to give active support to the change process for it to gain the full support of the workforce. 1993). Management need to communicate the need for change and highlight the crisis situation that may develop by avoiding the change. Research shows that it is important to proactively manage and control and seek out change in order to succeed and gain a competitive edge. including education and communication. organization development. Lewin's three-phase theory for managing change. In reality the change not only has to be managed but also has to be marketed. the market changes. It was noted that communication efforts must be both verbal and active (Kotter. however change is not always within the control of the organization (Vroom. Once the change has been implemented. customer demands change and the technology to support the business change. demonstrate the inadequacies of the older system.  . participation and involvement. and the use of coercion.Conclusion Change is inevitable. Users resist change because they fear the unknown but effective communication from the start of the change project can help reduce this fear. It is also important for managers to know how to overcome resistance to change. 1995). Effective communication should be used to promote or market the new proposed changes while at the same time. the change management process must constantly review the change and reinforce it. negotiation and agreement. manipulation and cooptation.
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